LDS Philanthropies has hosted a luncheon for the last fifteen years, where all student recipients of BYU Signature Scholarships can meet the donors of their scholarships. Students had this opportunity Oct 2, 2015, at a luncheon hosted in The Gordon B. Hinckley Center ballroom.
After attendees had eaten and become acquainted with one another, Brent Sharp of LDS Philanthropies introduced the opening speaker who was a student recipient of one of the university’s signature scholarships.
Matthew Viglione, a senior majoring in electrical engineering, began by thanking all those who had ever contributed to the scholarships he had received. Viglione spoke about his childhood and how money was not easy to come by in his family.
“One thing my dad always taught me is that we really needed to work hard and if we work hard and if we dedicated ourselves we’d be able to accomplish something good,” Viglione said, “If we did our best, we would accomplish great things.”
Viglione said when it came time for him to choose a university he had a few offers and scholarships from different universities, though he had never seriously considered BYU. He finally prayed about it and got a firm ‘yes’ that he should attend this university.
His parents were not very pleased with this decision, because he had not gotten any scholarship offers from BYU. Once he got to BYU, he found he did have a scholarship and his parents were very relieved.
He said the environment of BYU was crucial to his growth. He explained he had not thought too much about serving a mission before coming to BYU, but as more of his friends began to leave on their own missions his freshman year, he pondered more about the opportunity.
Viglione said he was certain if he had not received these scholarships he would not be where he is and who he is today. He attributed much of his experience to the scholarship program.
Jeff Young, a scholarship donor, spoke and emphasized on the worth of investment these donors are making in the students that receive these scholarships.
“The value that you get of this education is unprecedented,” Young said.
Matthew Richardson, advancement vice president of BYU, suggested the idea that when recipients and scholarship donors come together in an occasion such as this it represents a domino effect. A chain reaction.
Richardson said as the scholarship donors invest in the students and the students complete their education, the students go on to greater things and use their education to influence for the better and touch many lives. He explained it eventually comes full circle as some of the recipients come back and donate to scholarships themselves for other students.
“Good things happen when people come together,” Richardson said, “Magic starts to happen.”
More importantly, Richardson suggested not just that students and donors can be together, but that they need to be together.
“We will never, ever replace what takes place when you put two human beings together. Face-to-face. Side-by-side.” Richardson said.